IN MY 50+ YEARS: MOTHERHOOD


As I was preparing my talk my favorite story came up in my scripture reading challenge to finish the Book of Mormon by the end of the year.

Alma 57:20…behold those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted.

21. yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.

25. … and also the joy of the whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.

26. and now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army…and we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe. That there was a just God and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power

27. now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm and they do put their trust in God continually.

In Alma 58:37 … we trust God will deliver us, not withstanding the weaknesses of our armies, yea, and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies.

39. and those sons… the Lord has supported them, yea, and kept them from falling by the sword, insomuch that even one soul has not been slain.

40. but behold they have received many wounds; nevertheless they stand fast in that liberty where with God has made them free, and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea, they do observe to keep his statutes and his judgements continually and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come.

When I read those verses I thought how we – if we stand firm in our beliefs – will all be wounded yes – but we will all Live. I love reading that it was because of their mothers that they believed and did not doubt.

To set the stage for my talk I want to read two comments that were given to me in preparation for speaking with you today. You all know that I am so proud of my children and you are all familiar with my daughter Chelsea and her husband Edson because you have been with them while they stood firm in their faith as they brought their miracle – Cassius – into this world.

Here is what Chelsea wrote, “On motherhood – I’ve learned that becoming a mother (especially to my 2.5 pound miracle) has given me a strength and resilience to fight for him even harder than I think I would fight for myself. He has blessed me with a stronger faith and greater understanding of Heavenly parents’ love for me. I understand better why Heavenly Father wants every single one of His children to come back to Him. Heavenly Father knows that childlike innocence and purity that is inside each one of us. The 3.5 months that Cassius was in the hospital, living only because of the support from modern medicine, doctors and machines – I never gave up on Him and I would not let myself think that he might not make it. Heavenly Father has that same (if not stronger) faith in us and He will never give up on us.”

And my friend Kathryn Watson shared this with me, “Being friends with older moms has helped me become a better mom myself. I’m able to watch what they do and ask questions when the time comes. It was very helpful when I had tiny tots to see how other people interacted with my kids.”

Sheri Due spoke in 2001 and the talk was: Are we not all mothers? I’m going to use much of her talk.

Motherhood is more than bearing children. It is the essence of who we are as women. Our Father in Heaven has entrusted us as women with His children (not just our own and all ages and all relationships to us) and he has asked us to love them and help lead them safely past the dangers of mortality back home.

Loving and leading – summarize not only the all consuming work of the Father and the Son, but the essence of our labor, our work is to help the Lord with his work.

Prophets have said time and time again that motherhood is the highest, holiest service … assumed by mankind.

Women did you realize that the responsibility and calling of motherhood is doctrine?

Motherhood is an ennobling doctrine regarding our most crucial role as women. It is a doctrine we must be clear on if we hope to stand “steadfast and immovable” regarding the issues that swirl around our gender.

Make no mistake Satan has declared war on motherhood. Sheri Dew said those who rock the cradle can rock Satan’s earthly empire. And he knows that without righteous mothers loving and leading the next generation, the Kingdom of God will fall.

It is so imperative that we understand the magnitude of motherhood. We must protect women’s most sacred role.

**I would like every female to stand ages 3-103**

Did you know that of all the words that could have been chosen to define her role and her essence Heavenly Father and Adam chose to call Eve “the mother of all living” —- that was before she ever bore children. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born.

So today as I am discussing motherhood I am not solely discussing maternity – ok, you can be seated.

Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood here on earth, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood. Motherhood –yes – is bearing children – (is that the extent?) – motherhood is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine nature, and the unique traits Heavenly Father gave us.

President Hinckley told us – God planted within women something divine. That something is the gifts of motherhood. Men were given the power of the priesthood to make them saviors of men.

Mothers (women) are born with an inherent right and authority to be the saviors of human souls… We are the regenerating force in the lives of God’s children.

Motherhood is the most ennobling endowment Heavenly Father could give us His daughters. We are entrusted with an unparalleled role in helping God’s children return home to live with Him again.

The subject of motherhood is a very tender one, it brings with it some of our greatest joys and heartaches. This has been true since the beginning. Eve was “glad” after the Fall realizing otherwise she wouldn’t have born children.

In Moses 5:11 and Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad. Saying were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil and the joy of our redemption. And the eternal life which God giveth unto all obedient.

Imagine Eve’s anguish over Cain and Abel. Some mothers experience pain because of the children they have born. While others anguish because they have no children.

Elder Widtsoe was adamant “women who -through no fault of their own- cannot exercise the gift of motherhood directly, may do so vicariously.”

For reasons known to the Lord, some women are required to wait to have children. This delay is not easy for any righteous woman.

But the Lord’s timetable for each of us does not negate our nature.

Each of us whether we have born children or have raised children to adulthood or have not the opportunity to raise children of our own must find ways to mother. Everywhere we look are those who need to be loved and led.

Eve set the pattern, in addition to bearing children, she mothered all of mankind when she made the most courageous decision any woman has ever made and with Adam opened the door for us to progress. She set an example of womanhood for men to respect and women to follow, modeling the characteristics with which we as women have been endowed:

her heroic faith,

a keen sensitivity to the Spirit,

and abhorrence of evil,

and complete selflessness.

Like the Savior, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” Eve, for the joy of helping initiate the human family, endured the fall. She loved us enough to help lead us.

As daughters of our Heavenly Father, and daughters of Eve, we are all mothers and we have always been mothers. And we have the responsibility to love and help lead the rising generation.

How will the rising generation of ladies learn to live as women of God unless they see what women of God look like:

how we dress,

how we act,

what we watch and read,

what we do in our spare time,

how we face temptations and uncertainty,

how we handle adversity and relationships,

where we find joy, and

what it looks like to walk out the values we teach in Young Women’s.

Everyone of us has an obligation to model righteous womanhood because our youth may not see it anywhere else. We continually have young women transitioning into Relief Society, are we cognizant to how difficult that can be for them?

Everyone of us can mother someone, obviously that begins within the walls of our own home and extends far beyond.

Everyone of us can show by words and deed that the work of women in the Lords Kingdom is magnificent and holy.

Let me say it again; we women are all mothers in Israel, and our calling is to love and help lead the rising generation through the dangerous streets of mortality.

I doubt any of us will reach our full potential without the nurturing of both mother who bore us and the mothers who bear with us.

If we look around us in all the many environments we find ourselves; whether it’s church, home, work, or community, we need to look around and see how many young men and young women are desperate for our love and leadership.

Our influence as mothers is irreplaceable and eternal. Never has there been a greater need for righteous mothers – mothers who bless their children with a sense of safety, security, and confidence about the future, mothers who teach their children where to find peace and truth and that the power of Jesus Christ is always stronger than the power of the adversary.

Every time we build the faith or reinforce the nobility of a young woman or man, every time we love or lead anyone, even one small step along the path, we are true to our endowment and calling as mothers and in the process we build the kingdom.

There isn’t a more important work than healing the souls of men as mothers. As you study the gospel and the plan of salvation you will realize-there is no “just a mom”, for the mothers work heals the souls of men.

We as women really want to make a difference and have influence. This will happen as we mother those we have born and those we are willing to bear with.

We are the Lord’s secret weapon. Our influence comes from a divine endowment that has been in place since the beginning.

Sister Dew said “…in the pre-mortal world, when our Father described our role, I wonder if we didn’t stand in wide-eyed wonder that he would bless us with a sacred trust so central to his plan and that he would endow us with gifts so vital to the loving and leading of his children. I wonder if we shouted for joy at least in part because of the ennobling stature He gave us in his Kingdom. The world won’t tell you that, but the Spirit will.”

We cannot let the Lord down, even if the day comes when we are the only women on earth who find nobility and divinity in motherhood.

For mother is the word that will define a righteous woman made perfect in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom, a woman who has qualified for eternal increase in posterity, wisdom, joy, and influence.

The doctrine of our divine role is true and as we strive to understand it, as we strive for a more holy approach, it will bring us peace and purpose.

We need to continue to rise to the challenge of being mothers -no doubt it will test our last ounce of courage, endurance and faith.

Our Father and His Only Begotten Son have given us a sacred stewardship and a holy crown in their kingdom. We have the strength to be worthy of it.

President Nelson, at General Conference, also told us that we have a divine endowment. That we have the capacity to sense what someone needs – when he or she needs it.

We can reach out, comfort, teach and strengthen someone in his or her very moment of need.

Our very nature leads us to think of others first, to consider the effect that any course will have on others.

He reminded us that it was our glorious mother Eve – with her far reaching vision of our Heavenly Father’s plan – who initiated what we call the fall.

Her wise and courageous choice and Adams supporting decision moved God’s plan of happiness forward. They made it possible for each of us to come to earth, receive a body, and prove that we would choose to stand up for Jesus Christ now, just as we did premortally.

The Prophet President Nelson urged us to pray to understand our spiritual gifts, to cultivate use and expand them, even more than we have before.
We will change the world as we do.

We as women inspire others and set a standard worthy of emulation.

We women of all ages have embarked on the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, the greatest work on earth today.

It is a cause that desperately needs us.

We truly shape the future.

We have been asked to have a holier approach to life – but how?

I was reading a book by Wendy Watson Nelson

WHAT WOULD A HOLY WOMAN DO?

She was with her husband when he was asked to rededicate the temple in Tonga. Elder Nelson (now President Nelson) was taking a last walk through and noticed that the words “House of the Lord, Holiness to the Lord” were inadvertently missing.

Those words were considered vital if the temple was going to be dedicated to the Lord.

After that experience, Wendy Nelson couldn’t get that off of her mind. She asked herself, “what I needed to change in my life so that I could have those words – Holiness to the Lord – placed upon my life. I wondered if I could ever be worthy to have those words placed upon my life. And if those words were placed, what would that mean?”

She ended up emailing 6 friends and here is part of that email – 

“ I am wondering if for three days you would be willing to, just once each day, purposely choose one of your daily activities and try to “be holy “ while doing it, or do it as a holy woman would do it. For example, how would a holy woman start her day? What would be on her “to do” list? How would a holy woman approach a difficult assignment or a new overwhelming project? How would she read to a child, or exercise? How would she talk with a friend, or shop, or play, or pray, or do laundry?

“How would a holy woman handle a conflict or avoid a conflict? What would she read, or say, or listen to, or watch…? What would she do in really difficult situations? If someone said something to her that was confusing, or hurtful, or demoralizing, how would a holy woman respond? What would she do? If she were betrayed, or misunderstood, or falsely accused, what would a holy woman do?

“How would a Holy women respond to her own success or failure? How would she respond to the successes and failures of others? How would a holy women use her time and energy and money? How would she prepare to partake of the Sacrament Sunday?

“How would a holy married woman welcome her husband home? Or how would she help him to welcome her home so they both felt loved, adored, wanted, and needed? How would a holy single young woman date, or use her time when not dating?

“Would you be willing to try that? Choose one thing a day for three days – a different thing each day or the same thing – you can’t do this wrong.”

So In closing – I want to ask – how would our world change if we – man or woman – ask ourselves what holiness to the Lord would mean to us and those around us if we enscribed those words onto our hearts and minds. How would our thoughts and actions change if we women – all women – consider part of our mission here on earth is that we have a responsibility and a privilege to be mothers and bring souls back home to live in God’s presence?

I say these things in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *